It wasn't all that long ago when we had a look at the Shuttle SN25P, which is based on NVIDIA's highly touted NForce 4 core logic. Today, we are looking at another evolution in the Shuttle XPC line up in the form of the ST20G5. It is based on ATI’s latest Radeon Xpress 200 chipset, which features an integrated Radeon X300 graphics processor and has support for all AMD Athlon 64 socket 939 processors including the recently announced Athlon 64 X2 processors after a simple BIOS flash.
Unlike the previous ATI Radeon Xpress 200-based motherboard that we looked at, namely the EQS M56K9-MLF, Shuttle have opted to pair the ATI Northbridge with ULI’s M1573 Southbridge. This has features that do not are not checklist features in ATI’s Southbridge, including the likes of SATA ports with Native Command Queuing support and Intel's Azalia high-definition audio chip.
The Radeon X300 PCI-Express graphics chipset that is included as part of the Northbridge is something that other chipset manufacturers do not currently offer in any of their chipset solutions, with the possible exception of Intel – it has full support for the DirectX 9.0 API.
In The Box:
An extra rounded IDE cable
A pair of metal feet with clear plastic tips to avoid scratching surfaces
Three manuals: motherboard, ULI RAID, XPC installation
A pack of cable ties, sticky pads and screws
Silicon paste thermal compound
Single ended floppy cable
30cm SATA cable
Molex to floppy power adapter
Molex pass through with floppy power adapter
ULI driver disk
A Software CD and a Driver CD
Shuttle has covered every base of possible internal configurations with the included extras here – a big thumbs up again. The inclusion of a 30cm SATA cable is an interesting one, as Shuttle have chosen to route the cables in a slightly different manner to the SN25P, which only required 15cm SATA cables to connect the hard drives up.
The G5 styling is along the lines of the classic and very popular G styling but features a brushed aluminium look, revised buttons and “stealthed” drive bays. The ST20 is the same size as older G-styled XPCs and is much shorter in appearance than the newer P-styled chassis – we think it's less cumbersome and less intrusive in all honesty. It's all a matter of personal preference as to which chassis styling you prefer, but each has its benefits in our opinion.